Richard Gleeson’s second five-wicket haul of the season put Northamptonshire in control on the first day at Cardiff against Glamorgan.
The paceman threatened all day, and his 5-60 was rich reward as the hosts were dismissed for 207 having chosen to bat first, Northants reaching 59-2 in reply by the close.
Gleeson’s first three scalps helped reduce Glamorgan to 102-6 and, although Andrew Salter and Craig Meschede shared a seventh wicket stand of 97 – the former top scoring with 58 – once broken the last four wickets fell for eight runs.
The 29-year-old missed the opening two months of Championship cricket due to winter surgery, but after first breaking onto the scene in the T20 Blast last summer, has been making up for lost time with the red ball in recent weeks.
A maiden five-wicket haul came against Gloucestershire last month, and his second in Wales took his tally to an impressive 27 with this only his fifth game of the campaign.
“Felt in good rhythm from the start today and five wicket’s is always a nice achievement,” Gleeson said after play.
“Since I’ve come back from injuries, and since the T20s, I’ve been taking wickets. [I’ve been] maybe a bit expensive but with a bit of extra pace that does come part and parcel sometimes, so it was nice today to have a bit of control with it.
“They did well [Salter and Meschede], they played a couple of shots and we were a bit unlucky. We put a couple of chances down, a few tough chances.
“We knew really that if we got one then they’d probably come quickly. If you can get a team out for around 200, you’re always in with a chance.
“Think it’s one of them wickets: it can be tough to get wickets on but they might come in clusters. You never know until both teams have batted.”
Gleeson struck with his sixth delivery of the day, beating Jacques Rudoplh’s defences for no score, and when Muhammad Azharullah removed Nick Selman (22) and Jack Murphy in consecutive overs the hosts slipped to 36-3.
Colin Ingram and Kiran Carlson took them to a more respectable 75-3, when a shower forced an early lunch, but both were gone within seven balls of the resumption without adding to the score.
The first came after a touch of luck for the visitors captain Alex Wakely, as he couldn’t hold onto Ingram’s edge off Kleinveldt, only for the ball to deflect into the hands of keeper David Murphy before Gleeson trapped Carlson LBW.
Chris Cooke then edged Gleeson through to Murphy to leave Glamorgan toppling when Salter and Meschede came together, and the pair road their luck, both edging Gleeson either short or wide of the slips, whilst Meschede twice could’ve been run out but Rob Newton missed from mid-on on both occasions.
As impressive as Gleeson’s afternoon spell was, Northants couldn’t keep up the intensity once he was dismissed – Azharullah in particular leaked runs, Meschede taking 16 off one particular over.
He survived a life as Levi put down a chance at slip off Simon Kerrigan, with Levi also unable to hold on when Salter gloved a Gleeson short ball. With the delivery after he reached his third half century of the season, in exactly 100 balls.
The wheels appeared to be coming off for the visitors as Kleinveldt, standing in as captain with Wakely already off the field, pulled up in his run-up, and the changing momentum was signalled as Meschede danced down the track and deposited Kerrigan into the river Taff.
He attempted the same shot in the next over, however, but caught thin air, Murphy completing the stumping that would turn the innings on its head once more as Glamorgan collapsed.
Marchant de Lange chopped on in Kerrigan’s next over before Gleeson wrapped things up, a beauty to clip the top of Lewis Carey’s off stump before Salter tried to hit out, but could only sky a catch to mid-on.
Ben Duckett struck a sparkling 193 last week against Sussex, but could only make 11 before Lewis Carey to the man at midwicket, captain Wakely unable to come in at his usual position of number three, and whilst Murphy battled with Rob Newton he could only make nine before driving Hogan to point.
Newton looked assured on his way to 31, before bad light stopped play with 16 overs remaining in the day, Levi alongside him on 2 when play was halted for the day.